Secretary of State for Defence

United Kingdom government cabinet minister

The secretary of state for defence (defence secretary) is a secretary of state in the Government of the United Kingdom, with responsibility for the Ministry of Defence.[3] As a senior minister, the incumbent is a member of the Cabinet of the United Kingdom.

Secretary of State for Defence
John Healey

since 5 July 2024
Ministry of Defence
TypeMinister of the Crown
StatusSecretary of state
Member of
Reports toThe Prime Minister
NominatorThe Prime Minister
AppointerThe Crown
on advice of the Prime Minister
Term lengthAt His Majesty's pleasure
Constituting instrumentDefence (Transfer of Functions) Act 1964 section 1(a)
PrecursorMinister of Defence
Formation1 April 1964
First holderPeter Thorneycroft
Unofficial namesDefence Secretary
DeputyMinister for Defence Procurement (since 2020)
Minister of State for the Armed Forces (before 2020)
Salary£154,089 per annum (2022)[1]
(including £86,584 MP salary)[2]

The current secretary of state for defence is John Healey who was appointed on 5 July 2024 by Prime Minister Keir Starmer.[4]


  1. "Salaries of Members of His Majesty's Government – Financial Year 2022–23" (PDF). 15 December 2022.
  2. "Pay and expenses for MPs". Retrieved 15 December 2022.
  3. "Secretary of State for Defence". Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  4. "John Healey: Who is the new Defence Secretary and how has he voted on military matters?". Forces Network. Retrieved 5 July 2024.